What makes a successful recruiter? – Jo, Client Services Manager

My background

I love English literacy but I didn’t feel I could make a career of it, so I tried other things instead – I worked in the police as a case worker and in the IT department at the NHS doing administration work. I lived in Australia for a year and travelled around South East Asia, also had some temporary roles as a receptionist, switchboard and other office work. In 2010, I decided to come back to Colchester and a friend mentioned there was a vacancy in Whitehall as an Administrator. Once I started working here I didn’t want to leave.

Starting a career in recruitment

Some months after I joined, the company decided to create a new department that would focus on IT roles and they asked me if I would be interested so I started working as an IT resource point-of-contact for big clients like Capgemini and IBM. I had never done sales before but I found I was good at it and I soon became an Account Manager. Within the accounts team I still hold the records for quickest to Senior Consultant, quickest to second billing target and I also hold the record for biggest deal value for a single deal. The company kept expanding and so did the teams. I knew I liked working with clients and I wanted to bring better quality jobs to the team, so after five years of experience in the Accounts Team I was promoted to Client Services Manager and moved to a newly created client services team. This year I have been promoted to Senior Client Services Manager.

What do you like the most about your job?

I like to be the point of contact and the expert, I can find out what is best for my clients and how they do recruitment so we can streamline what we do to fit in how they work. If you understand your clients’ business and your candidates you can easily find a very good person for the role and confidently assure your client this is the person they need. The most rewarding part of recruitment is delivering the good news to a contractor when they get the job and receiving good feedback from our clients.

I also like that I get to know some very interesting people and hear lots of stories about them. We talk about holidays, weekend plans… I have a couple of ladies that like to tell me their disastrous dating stories and another contractor who is ex-forces and creates pyrotechnics for film sets in her spare time!

What do you think has made you successful in recruitment?

Having the ability to understand technology, the client’s business, their requirements and making sure that the candidate profiles we send to the clients are valuable for the role, and truly are the best candidates. This is something I learned through experience working with clients with a high volume of roles – it is difficult to find the right person for all of them, so it doesn’t always goes smoothly – however, you do learn where it can go wrong, why and how to avoid these challenges next time. Sometimes it is about asking the right questions, which can take time to learn.

The element of contractor care is also very important, building a relationship in which they know you truly care about them and they are not just another number. When you have a good relationship, you are also able to find the reasons behind a contractor not accepting a job, and it gives you the opportunity to do something about it rather than let the contractor go.

The key is to listen. Listening to the more experienced recruiters and managers and taking on board what they say, and listening to clients and candidates and remembering the details. It seems obvious but sometimes it’s not easy to do when you are trying to make every minute of the day count. But if you listen and remember, good things will come from it!

Good reputation helps

Recruitment can be challenging, there are always companies and contractors who don’t want to take your calls, but I’ve learned that we have a better name in the market than a lot of other recruitment companies, over the years we built a reputation of being the best and I can confidently say this to the clients. When I speak with companies who don’t know who we are, we always have a good story to tell: the way the company works, the way that we recruit people or the way we are able to retain our staff, and it is genuine.

Awarded Most Improved Sales Person of the Year 2018

I am very proud of the awards I’ve received at Whitehall. In my first year I won Rookie of the Year and last year I won Most Improved Person of the Year. I wanted to win that title because my role in the CSM team is much more different than what I was used to do in the Accounts team and it has many more challenges than I expected, including lots of new business development involved. I have learned a lot.

What I like the most about working at Whitehall

I like the perks! The quarterly awards such as trips to Portugal, the incentives like evenings at the West End – where I went to watch “Kinky Boots” and stayed at the Marriot hotel, and the Lunch Clubs. I actually bought my house during a Lunch Club, three years after I joined Whitehall. I had saved my commissions for a while and I had put an offer in for a house I liked, but they said the offer was too low and they rejected it, but during a Lunch Club I asked one of our Managers what could I do to get the house and he encouraged me to close the deal so I called the estate agent, I asked what was the minimum they’d accept and luckily I could afford it so I offered that amount and they accepted it! As you can imagine I partied until late that night and shouted to anyone that would listen “I just bought my house on lunch club”! It is through this job that I have been able to buy my house, a car I really like and go on nice holidays.

Advice for people starting in recruitment

The first 12 months are probably the best and the worst. Some recruiters make deals at the beginning of their career and might feel they understand recruitment within the first three months, but then don’t manage to make any more deals for a while even if they follow the process and are on top of their email and phone activity. They start to wonder if they are doing something wrong… why are the clients not returning their calls? But often they are not doing anything wrong, it is the natural course of recruitment. It can take 12 months to build relationships with clients, to establish yourself as a supplier and to earn their trust, but this can be achieved through true genuine interest, having different conversations, remembering details and moving those conversations forward. That is the hardest part of the job, but once the client wants to talk to you and gives you a role to fill, you start building your success. If you stick to the job for 12 months, you’ve cracked it, so don’t give up!

What is next for Jo?

I was recently promoted to my current Senior CSM role, so I would like to open another account, which means offering additional services to our clients in other areas of the business and becoming their main supplier. It has been quite an exciting journey so far, I have learned so much and I don’t imagine doing anything different now. I am looking forward to what comes next, maybe in the future I’ll think about becoming a Team Leader.

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After working at Whitehall for a number of years now, I look back and wonder why I didn’t get into recruitment sooner. The company values, team spirit and the atmosphere is what makes Whitehall the place to be. On top of that, the commission structure, company rewards and career progression are second to none and I am excited for what my future holds and the goals I can reach.

Nicola Saxham - Senior Consultant – International (DACH) team

Since I started working at Whitehall, I am the happiest I have ever been in my career. The company really do look after you and I enjoy coming into work every day. The operations team always get included in all the incentive schemes, so no one is ever left out. I cannot wait to see what the future holds for me here at Whitehall.

Keeley Bell – Operations Coordinator

I have worked at Whitehall for a long time now and it has been a pleasure to be part of the company’s continued growth. It is an exceptional place to work, with a family orientated mentality, and you are rewarded for working hard and being dedicated. I have loved my time here so far and look forward to progressing further.

Jason Wood – Credit Control Supervisor

Whitehall has really helped me curate my career into one I can be proud of – starting as an admin assistant,  I was promoted to the Facilities & Senior Administrator after just 18 months! Just recently, I was part of a project to help the company become Carbon Neutral, which is the best news!! The camaraderie of the whole team is wonderful, and I would thoroughly recommend Whitehall to anyone who is looking to kickstart their career into something amazing!

Abbie Elwood – Facilities & Senior Administrator

I joined the company as an entry-level consultant in the newly formed Key Accounts team back in 2010. Throughout those years I have progressed within the company and have had multiple promotions along the way and have never once looked back. At the moment, I’m looking to continue the growth of my team by adding to the current headcount and in supporting their development to help them to achieve their aspirations.

Adam Edgell – Associate Director – Key Accounts Delivery

The environment here is second to none, I am constantly learning and improving thanks to those around me and from the support of my managers. This is a company that rewards hard work and gives you all the tools you need to develop and succeed. I would recommend Whitehall to anyone, from those looking to start their journey into recruitment to those who already have a number of years’ experience as you will be joining a close-knit team and have the opportunity to thrive and work with some of the best in the industry.

Nathan Joseph – Principal Consultant – UK Permanent – ERP & IT Client Development

Since joining Whitehall Resources, they have given me the opportunity to grow and develop from a trainee position. Whitehall Resources is the ideal company if you are looking for career progression.

Kirsty Small – Contracts Administrator

I joined Whitehall with no experience in recruitment or IT and I could barely use a computer myself. Since joining, I have built a career and a joined a family here. I couldn’t be more grateful for the opportunity I have been given and the guidance I have received from my managers and colleagues (friends). With hard work and a bit of tenacity, Whitehall can give you the chance to change your life for the better.

Jacob Lee – Executive Consultant – UK SAP Contracts

I joined Whitehall Resources with zero recruitment experience and a background in pharmaceuticals. Fast forward six years I have been promoted on multiple occasions and can vouch first hand that Whitehall Resources is a great place for career progression whilst having lots of fun along the way. On top of the career available you get to win lots of incentives including holidays abroad and overall, it is a great place to work.

Georgia Pike - Executive CSM - CSM

After joining Whitehall, I have really found myself within recruitment and even achieved rookie of the year! I am continuously learning and growing. I am looking forward to challenging myself in the future and seeing what I can achieve here at Whitehall.

Hannah Pile – Consultant – UK SAP Perm

I joined Whitehall in late 2015 as IT Support Engineer and have now progressed to Team Lead. Whitehall is a fantastic place to work, where hard work and a strong work ethic is rewarded in both Sales and Operations alike.

Dan Appleby – IT Team Lead